A Bradley County, Tenn., prosecutor who said her boss assaulted and then fired her last week has her job back.
Cynthia LeCroy-Schemel and 10th Judicial District District Attorney Steve Bebb said in a joint news release that LeCroy-Schemel has been reinstated as an assistant district attorney.
"In many offices, disagreements sometimes arise among peers; the District Attorney's Office is no exception to this rule," the release states. "In regard to the events of last week, in the best interest of the office and the people of the district, a resolution has been reached wherein General Bebb has reinstated Ms. Le-Croy-Schemel to her position as an assistant district attorney."
On Saturday, Le-Croy-Schemel told the Times Free Press that Bebb had fired her the previous day, two days after grabbing her and cocking a fist at her during an angry tirade in the district attorney's office.
On Monday, the Cleveland Police Department confirmed that LeCroy-Schemel filed a complaint Friday alleging Bebb had assaulted her on Wednesday. The department has asked the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation to look into the complaint. Josh Divine, TBI spokesman, said the bureau initiates investigations at the request of district attorneys. In cases that involve a district attorney, the TBI would initiate an investigation at the request of the state attorney general.
It was unclear whether the complaint against Bebb was dropped in light of LeCroy-Schemel's reinstatement. Cleveland police did not return phone calls seeking comment.
LeCroy-Schemel told the Times Free Press on Saturday that the incident took place as she moved to comfort a pregnant co-worker whom Bebb had been berating. She said Bebb met her in the hall at the district attorney's office and began angrily upbraiding her over whom she is supporting in the Republican primary for district attorney.
Bebb is not seeking re-election and supports his former chief assistant, Stephen Hatchett.
Le-Croy-Schemel's husband has donated to the other GOP candidate, Steve Crump. Bebb defeated Crump in the 2006 race for district attorney.
On Sunday, Hatchett distributed a news release supporting Bebb and criticizing LeCroy-Schemel.
He said district residents had complained to him that she was not aggressive in her job prosecuting child-abuse cases.
"My opponent on at least two occasions has given public speeches complaining about the terrible job being done by the assistant district attorneys in the 10th Judicial District and I assumed he had heard the same complaints I have and was talking about Mrs. Schemel," Hatchett said in the release.
"Based upon my opponent's comments, I would have been shocked if he wanted her working for him either."
On Monday, Crump released a statement saying he had criticized "the failures of the system and a lack of leadership and accountability" in the DA's office but not any individual prosecutor. He said if he is elected, he wants all the employees to stay "whether they support me or not."
He said he is "disappointed that my opponent would attack an alleged crime victim in the media before the facts have been heard or the investigation is even completed."
Contact staff writer Judy Walton at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-757-6416.
Judy Walton has worked 25 years at the Chattanooga Times and the Times Free Press as an editor and reporter focusing on government coverage and investigations. At various times she has been an assistant metro editor, region reporter and editor, county government reporter, government-beat team leader, features editor and page designer. Originally from California, Walton was brought up in a military family and attended a dozen schools across the country. She earned a journalism degree ...